Deportation: July 2011 Archives

The Boston Globe is really bringing the fire against the federal [In]Secure Communities program (S-Comm). Following Maria Sacchetti's article highlighting the abuses of S-Comm, Adrian Walker came out with a column condemning the program, the editorial board wrote against the program, and now Lawrence Harmon has a piece against the program.

Most surprising to me was the harsh public comments Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis had for John Morton. Davis is really changing his tune on S-Comm and deserves credit for doing so. Harmon quotes Davis saying Morton was "cavalier," and "dismissive." From what I've heard from folks who've interacted with Morton, that seems pretty accurate.

Part of the reason I'm not as good at blogging as I used to be is not only because I'm spending more of my time off the computer and on the streets, it's also because the amount of pro-migrant information I'm taking in has exponentially increased and it's easy to become overwhelmed. With very little movement happening nationally, though, and the fights returning to the local level where there's really shoddy media coverage, it's important that I we all do our part to produce media that changes the conversation about migration in the U.S. and around the world.

I don't think it's possible to understand the amount of violence that is being done to our communities through the mass detention and deportation machine that the Obama administration has constructed. A single mind just cannot comprehend the amount of damage that 400,000 deportations a year does to families and communities. I'm hoping that by communicating the stories of a tiny fraction of people that are getting deported through the public deportations that people are trying to stop that together we can try and move towards understanding.
Good news for the pro-migrant movement in the Boston Globe this morning: Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino has taken a firm stand against the excesses of the [In]Secure Communities program (S-Comm):

"As operated now, Secure Communities is diminishing trust, an essential part of the neighborhood fabric and a vital public safety tool,'' Menino wrote.

"Secure Communities must change substantially or be scrapped,'' he wrote.


"Boston took part in Secure Communities as a pilot project, with the understanding that only the most serious criminals would be affected and the belief that our feedback would lead to improvements in the program,'' Menino wrote in the letter. "It would be a further violation of the public trust if instead Secure Communities proves to be a knot that the federal government will not untie.''
Martine Powers and Stewart Bishop - Boston Globe (11 July 2011)
The fight is certainly not over.

ACTION: Sign the twitter petition I just created.

Today at 2 p.m. ET, Barack Obama is holding a twitter townhall to "answer twitter users' questions about the American economy." There's a part of me that doubts migrant communities will ever be addressed no matter how many tweets with the hashtag #askobama we produce, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

Contrary to the false zero-sum logic of nativists, objective economist after objective economist has shown migration to the U.S., authorized and unauthorized, to benefit the U.S. economy. A job earned by a migrant isn't a job taken away from a native born worker, because jobs given have the tendency to support other jobs and businesses. I will be fair and acknowledge that there might be some instances where migration can have a negative impact on marginalized native born workers, but I think strengthening workers' rights and unionizing them would do those folks a lot more good than turning local police officers into border patrol agents.

Understanding this economic truth isn't difficult for people from migrant sending nations like myself. I wish many of the best and most enterprising Guatemalan people who make lives for themselves in migrant receiving nations didn't have to leave, but the fact of the matter is that people generally know what's best for themselves and I know Guatemala's prosperity, as well as the U.S.'s prosperity, for that matter, is interwoven with the empowerment of migrants.

I don't want Obama to speculate on what I know to be economic truths, though, I want to #askobama why he continues to ask for more and more money for immigration enforcement, and why he continues to waste precious federal resources on deporting migrant youth and ripping apart migrant families with strong ties to the U.S. If the question does get asked, I'm assuming he'll dance around it as he has done every other time. Hopefully one of these days, before the election, we're able to find someone with enough knowledge and courage to be able to press him with targetted follow-up questions.
When will this madness end? Krista Jensen of the Washington DREAM Act Coalition ask me to get a petition to stop Yañez deportation out there. Sign it, please. If Obama continues to force us to stop these one-by-one it will only make us stronger.
Originally posted at Crooks and Liars.

[Please sign the petition, above, and ask Boston to stop allowing the federal government to turn our local police into border patrol agents.]

Boston has made one mistake too many in trying to enforce federal immigration law.

The city is currently enrolled in the federal program with the Orwellian name Secure Communities (S-Comm), which forces local police to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest. The Obama administration wants to force every local police force in the U.S. to enroll in this program by 2013, but states and localities across the nation are resisting. If migrant communities are afraid to go to their local police officers to report crimes, then all residents are less safe. Following the governors of Illinois and New York, the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, recently declined to participate in the program.

While the program is under review in Boston, the latest Boston Globe article from Maria Sacchetti makes clear that the time for Boston to terminate its S-Comm program is now. With DREAMer Lizandra DeMoura now in deportation proceedings, this program has manifestly done enough damage to our communities.

In 2006, one of the first official acts of Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis was to refuse then Gov. Mitt Romney's request to use local police forces to enforce federal immigration law. What wouldn't be made public until four years later is that while Davis was publicly decrying the involvement of local police in enforcing federal immigration law, privately, the Boston Police Department was the pilot for a program that would check the immigration status of everyone they arrested, a program which would later come to be known as S-Comm.

It's easy to understand why the federal government approached Boston about doing this. As one of the most pro-migrant major cities in the U.S., involving Boston early would blunt criticism against S-Comm later. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also promised all participants in S-Comm that the purpose of the program would be to target the worst of the worst for deportation.

ACTION: Please sign the above petition, now.

Maria Sacchetti's article in the Boston Sunday Globe has me shaking with rage. She's been able to do as a reporter what we've been unable to do as advocates, which is to publicly bring to light specific cases of people in our communities who have been ensnared by ICE's [In]Secure Communities Program (S-Comm).

What has me shaking with rage an unable to even focus on the rest on the article is the fact that the irresponsibility of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis and the Boston Police Department has allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensare a DREAMer, Lizandra DeMoura, in their deportation machinery. If Maria Sacchetti hadn't brought this case to light, DeMoura might have been deported without any of us knowing about it.

I don't know what else the Boston Police Department needs to know about S-Comm. They need to stand against the program, now. They've already irrevocably broken the trust of migrant communities throughout Boston by enrolling in this program in 2006 and not making that public until 2010. The more time that Boston delays standing against this program, the more time we have to organize against it, and the more difficult it will be for migrant communities to regain their trust with the police. It's time for Boston to stand against the program, now. I just started up a petition targeted at some of the right people. Please sign it, now.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Deportation category from July 2011.

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